30 second time outs

Friday, May 15, 2009

Motivating youth athletes to listen and play hard

It's important to teach sports in the proper progression. Have reasonable expectations of your level of play and teach to their ability through setting achievable goals for the players. Stretch each player to improve and try not to leave anyone behind by challenging them with drills and activities that measure their improvement over a previous standard or a competition against others. Encourage kids to ask questions by providing sincere answers to all of them. As hard as it is sometimes - it develops a growth mindset they'll appreciate forever.

Your entire team (coaches, players and parents) should strive to achieve the Magic Ratio of 5 positive experiences for every correction/critiscism or negative experience. Consider everything verbal and non-verbal. A great rule of thumb is to Relentlessly Reward Desired Effort! Think about that statement. It means you're always trying, you're attempting to be more positive by recognizing achievements, it means they're learning what you want by doing what's desired and they're giving a good effort. The reward can come through praise (truthful and specific), symbolic rewards (stickers, game balls, etc) and/or playing time.

When organizing practice and dividing playing time, try to provide the maximum number of repetitions and opportunities to be active as possible. Kids get sluggish and discouraged when there is a lot of standing around waiting for their turn. A slow paced practice does not teach kids to hustle. You can't cruise through practice and expect hustle in a game. Players need to learn what it means to give 100%. Create those opportunities in practice and then let them know when they did well. Ask kids if they gave their best and find out if they have more to give (only they really know). Make hustle fun.. then reward it.

Quite possibly the most important thing is for you to have fun. If you're having a great time, players tend to follow the coaches lead and feed off that. Set the tone when they arrive at practice and send them off on a positive not.


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